While Baby Boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) remain in first place when it comes to taking vitamins and other supplements, the Millennials, also known as Generation Y, continue to pick up the pace. A study conducted by Natural Marketing Institute (NMI), demonstrates that since 2009, Millennials have “increased their supplement intake by a full supplement over the past five years.” In other words, they have added one more pill to their daily supplement regimen. What’s more 55% of Millennials believe that vitamin supplements will help them manage their health issues.
Understanding the Millennial Consumer
Today there are 80 million Millennials in the U.S. Born between 1980 and 2000, they comprise nearly approximately one quarter of the total population and spend about one-trillion annually by some estimates.
It makes sense that the Millennials are avid vitamin and other supplement consumers. After all, they were parented by health-oriented Baby Boomers who continue to demonstrate a strong desire to take care of their own physical health, practice preventive medicine and ward off the signs of aging as much as possible. Many of these Baby Boomers parents, often at the pediatrician’ request, started giving their Millennial children vitamin and mineral supplements (think fun-shaped, tasty gummies and chewables) when these kiddies were still in diapers.
Growing up in the Information age, Millennials are the most knowledge-driven generation. They are likely to do online research or consult a pharmacist to obtain information about supplements. Because they are heavily reliant on the Internet and have 24-hour access to information, Millennials want more details about products in general. They are also more likely to demand transparency and view the Web as a constant-accessible resource in helping them make decisions, whether that means about their health or buying a car.
Here’s some quick facts to consider regarding Millennials in the marketplace from a global market research survey poll conducted by the consulting firm Accenture Consulting:
- More than half (55 percent) of the survey respondents, in all three demographics, said that they seek out “the cheapest return option.”
- Forty-one percent of all three groups said they practice “showrooming”—examining merchandise at a nearby retail store and then shopping for it online to find the lowest price—more often than they did a year ago. This shift is due, in part, to the current high penetration levels of smartphones, which can enable customers to search for an item easily, even while in a store.
- Thirty-six percent of those surveyed from all three generations said they will go online to buy from a retailer’s website if they want a product when the company’s stores are closed.
- On average, 89 percent said having access to real-time product availability information would influence their shopping choices in terms of which stores they would frequent.
Just like other demographic groups, Millennials have their own orientation when it comes to health and wellness. They are concerned about brain health, heart health, weight loss, weight maintenance, fighting fatigue and maintaining high energy levels. Popular nutraceutical products such as multivitamins, fish oil, COQ10, vitamin D, B vitamins, magnesium, calcium, probiotics and vitamin C appeal to Millennials.
This generation also recognizes the importance of protein in relation to overall health, brain health, building muscle mass and fitness training. In fact, Millennials turn to protein supplements as meal replacements most frequently, followed by the Generation Xers (according to Acosta Research). Protein supplements are some of the highest, most in-demand products in the nutraceutical marketplace.
But bear in mind that compared to other consumers, Millennials favor getting nutrition from foods and beverages over supplements (also according to Natural Marketing Institute.) They prefer to take fewer pills, since pills have long been associated with sickness and aging. Rather than capsules and tablets, supplement companies need to attract Millennials by considering alternative delivery methods. Drink mixes, gummies and liquids that come in pleasing flavors one looks forward to tasting have much more appeal to this generation than tablets and capsules.
Women’s Marketing cites that although Millennials prize their physical but often have a hard time remembering to take their supplements on a regular basis. But because they are so highly engaged with technology, health and wellness industry brands could develop apps, wearable devices, or social media programs that remind them to take their supplements.
According the online trend magazine Millennials Today, “Millennials are flocking to the [supplement] band wagon in droves.” This is good news for the nutraceutical business since this trend will only continue as this savvy, plugged-in generation matures.
- Supplements/OTC/Rx Consumer and Market Trends Report, Natural Marketing Institute (NMI), 2013. (http://www.nmisolutions.com/index.php/syndicated-data/nmis-proprietary-databases/supplementsotcrx-database)